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Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

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An apprentice witch, three kids and a cynical magician conman search for the missing component to a magic spell to be used in the defense of Britain in WWII.


Robert Stevenson


Ralph Wright (animation story), Ted Berman (animation story) | 3 more credits »
3,390 ( 242)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Miss Price
David Tomlinson ... Emelius
Roddy McDowall ... Mr. Jelk
Sam Jaffe ... Bookman
John Ericson ... Col. Heller
Bruce Forsyth ... Swinburne
Cindy O'Callaghan Cindy O'Callaghan ... Carrie
Roy Snart Roy Snart ... Paul
Ian Weighill ... Charlie
Tessie O'Shea Tessie O'Shea ... Mrs. Hobday
Arthur Gould-Porter Arthur Gould-Porter ... Capt. Greer (as Arthur E. Gould-Porter)
Ben Wrigley Ben Wrigley ... Portobello Rd. Workman
Reginald Owen ... Gen. Teagler
Cyril Delevanti ... Elderly Farmer
Rick Traeger Rick Traeger ... German Sergeant


During WWII in England, Charlie, Carrie, and Paul Rawlins are sent to live with Eglantine Price, who it turns out is an apprentice witch. Charlie blackmails Miss Price that if he is to keep her practices a secret, she must give him something, so she takes a bed knob from her late father's bed and places the "famous magic traveling spell" on it, and only Paul can activate it. Their first journey is to a street in London where they meet Emelius Browne, former headmaster of Miss Price's witchcraft training correspondence school. Miss Price tells him of a plan to find the magic words for a spell known as Substitutiary Locomotion, which brings inanimate objects to life. This spell will be her work for the war effort. Written by Matthew Anscher <anscher@radonc.duke.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You'll beWITCHED! You'll beDAZZLED! You'll be swept into a world of enchantment BEYOND ANYTHING BEFORE! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

official site




English | German

Release Date:

13 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bedknobs and Broomsticks: 25th Anniversary Special Edition See more »

Filming Locations:

Dorset, England, UK See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Walt Disney Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (1996) (restored) | (re-release) (1980) | (initial US release) (November 1971)

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (5.0) (L-R)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Roddy McDowall is third in the cast list, but appears on screen for less than ten minutes. See more »


After the machine gun crew abandon their weapons and run, the very same crew are seen already set up in firing position merely five seconds later. See more »


[first lines]
Captain Ainsley Greer: You there, which way to Pepperinge Eye?
Elderly Farmer: Couldn't say, sir. It said on the wireless to paint out the sign posts in case the Nazis drop in.
Captain Ainsley Greer: I'm not a Nazi, I'm a British officer!
Elderly Farmer: That's what you'd say if you *was* a Nazi, isn't it sir?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are based on the Bayeux Tapestry, a full account of the 1066 Norman conquest of Britain. See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1996, in honor of the film's 25th anniversary, the film was restored to a length of 139 minutes, close to the originally intended length (the film had been cut to 117 minutes against the wishes of its makers before its premiere). This version has the following scenes reinstated:
  • A guardsman named Mr. Widdenfield (played by Arthur Malet) harasses Captain Greer, while Mrs. Hobday tries to clear things out (leading into the song "The Old Home Guard").
  • A Home Guard sergeant asking for permission to dismiss the marching parade (immediately after "The Old Home Guard" ends).
  • Mr. Jelk tells Mrs. Hobday of his plans to buy Miss Price's house.
  • At dinner time, Carrie tells Miss Price she and her brothers are orphans, while she explains what happened to their caretaker, Aunt Bessie.
  • Miss Price notes mango-wurzel jam is available at the dinner table, and they say grace, as the children look disgusted at Miss Price's tastes in food.
  • Miss Price tells the children no one has ever seen her workroom before.
  • As Mr. Jelk brings a letter to Miss Price (the one that informs her the Emelius Browne Correspondence College of Witchcraft has closed), he tries to get into the house and talk to her, but she politely sends him away.
  • When Miss Price asks Paul for the bedknob back to get to London, Charlie attempts to extort some money from her, but she rebuffs him.
  • After "The Age of Not Believing," Paul tries to get the bed to fly, but Miss Price forgot to tell him to tell the knob where to take them.
  • When the children find Mr. Browne on the streets of London, they take the bed with them and follow him.
  • The entire song "With a Flair" and its lead-in, as well as Mr. Browne's subsequent offer to sell his magic props.
  • When Miss Price says "we'd be delighted [to join Mr. Browne for luncheon]," Mr. Browne asks if the children belong to her.
  • At the townhouse where Mr. Browne is staying, Miss Price explains to her what substitutiary locomotion is and why she wants the spell.
  • The second nursery scene, in which Paul discovers the book "Isle of Naboombu," is put before "Eglantine", whereas it was formerly after it.
  • The song "Eglantine" is restored to its entirety.
  • The song "Portobello Road" is restored to its entirety, as its subsequent dance sequence. The main song adds a scene with a used clothing merchant and another scene where Charlie and Paul play cricket. In the dance, the Caribbean dance now precedes the Irish dance. Unlike the rest of the formerly cut scenes, the tail end of the Irish dance and the beginning of the dance's climax only existed as a faded work-print that had to be digitally scanned and cleaned before it could be brought back to a passable state.
  • Mr. Browne tells Swinburne that the bed once belonged to royalty and is being offered to the Bookman as a present, while the children push the bed through the door.
  • Mr. Browne rebuffs the Bookman's offer to swap sections of the book, but relents when he is threatened.
  • A scene in the village store where Mrs. Hobday meets Mr. Browne and suggests he should marry Miss Price. Mr. Jelk walks in and overhears them.
  • The song "Nobody's Problem's for Me" is reinstated after Mr. Browne leaves the house. No orchestral track existed, so the studio recorded a new one.
See more »


Featured in ABC's 50th Anniversary Celebration (2003) See more »


Portobello Road
Performed by David Tomlinson, John Orchard, Thurl Ravenscroft, Ian Weighill, Cindy O'Callaghan, Roy Snart, and others
Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
(edited version following USA limited release)
(extended version only on 1996 restoration)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Brilliant family entertainment!
17 September 2006 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

Set during WWII, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a fun-filled fantasy adventure for kids, starring Angela Lansbury as an apprentice witch who, with the help of three evacuee children and a 'Professor of Witchcraft', thwarts a Nazi invasion.

Brilliantly inventive, with loads of laughs, this movie will delight kids of all ages with its great characters, exciting story and catchy tunes. Lansbury is perfect as Eglantine, the not-quite-perfect witch who takes the three children on the adventure of a lifetime, and her three young co-stars (Cindy O'Callaghan, Roy Snart and Ian Weighill) are equally impressive as the Cockney rascals who aid in battling the nasty Hun.

The special effects are somewhat dated, but let's face it, kids don't care too much about these things, so long as they are entertained. And entertained, they will be. With some impressive scenes which brilliantly mix live action and animation to great effect, and more genuine movie magic than a hundred Harry Potters, it would be hard not to enjoy this wonderful slice of cinematic escapism. In fact, only a rather drawn-out musical number set in Portobello Road mars the film's perfection, but with so much else to enjoy, that can easily be forgiven.

And besides, any film featuring UK television legend Bruce Forsyth as a 'Flash' Harry style spiv is guaranteed a good rating from me.

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